There are many reasons a mesothelioma patient may decide to pursue alternative treatment. Some patients wish to avoid traditional treatment and use alternative therapies as their sole form of symptom management; while other patients may use them as a supplement to a traditional treatment regimen. Regardless of their motivation, patients have a number of alternative medicine options. These can range from complete medical systems, such as Ayurvedic medicine, to stand-alone treatments such as therapeutic massage. Many patients pursue multiple methods throughout the course of treatment.
Patients should work with a holistic medicine practitioner to choose the alternative therapies that most closely align with their health goals. Many hospitals actually offer a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) department. Mesothelioma patients can take advantage of this option and add a CAM practitioner to their treatment team.
Most forms of alternative mesothelioma therapy are performed or guided by a trained health professional. These include:
- Ayurveda (a system of Hindu medicine)
- Homeopathy (plant and mineral-based solutions)
- Naturopathy (a combination of natural and traditional medications with an emphasis on holistic treatments)
- Therapeutic massage
Patients who explore these options should make sure their practitioner holds an up-to-date license with the accreditation boards associated with their field. Patients can also become involved in their treatment by exploring options with the guidance of a holistic professional. These include:
- Nutritional therapy
- Supplementation (vitamins, minerals or natural cancer-fighting herbs)
- Visualization and imagery techniques
- Gentle yoga
While patients can engage in these therapies on their own schedule and from the comfort of their own home, it’s always a good idea to learn the basics from a professional before adding them to a treatment plan.
What Alternative Medicine Can Offer Mesothelioma Patients
Alternative therapies are gentle on the body and pose a very low risk of side effects. This makes them extremely appealing to patients who are already dealing with debilitating mesothelioma symptoms. Without putting the patient at risk for further complications, these therapies can help bring the patient’s symptoms down to a manageable level. Mesothelioma patients can use alternative medicine to address a number of different conditions, but alternative therapies are especially effective at reducing pain and anxiety.
Therapeutic massage is one of the most effective alternative pain-relief techniques. Patients should ideally find a massage therapist who is specially trained in working with cancer patients. Done correctly, therapeutic massage can reduce the chest and abdominal pain felt by mesothelioma patients. One cancer study found that nearly 60 percent of subjects experienced a reduced level of pain perception after massage therapy.
Acupuncture is also effective at relieving cancer-related pain. Patients can explain which areas are producing the most discomfort – as well as which other symptoms they are experiencing – and the acupuncturists can choose the most appropriate pressure points to stimulate.
Mind-based therapies are also exceptionally helpful in mesothelioma treatment. These therapies allow patients to work through stressors such as anxiety about their future or concerns about their financial arrangements. Yoga, meditation, hypnosis and relaxation therapy are all effective methods of calming the mind without pills.
Despite these benefits, alternative therapies are not considered a cure for cancer. Instead, these therapies are considered palliative – the primary goal is symptom relief. Some patients feel as though their alternative medicine regimen has helped slow the growth of their tumors, but patients should avoid any alternative therapy that claims to be a mesothelioma cure.
Author bio: Faith Franz researches and writes about health-related issues for The Mesothelioma Center. One of her focuses is living with cancer.
Ferrell-Torry, A. T., & Glick, O. J. (1993). The use of therapeutic massage as a nursing intervention to modify anxiety and the perception of cancer pain. Cancer Nursing, 16 (2). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8477405
Cardiologist William Davis seems to think so, and has published a book supporting his findings. He says that a protein added to modern wheat, gliadin, acts like an opiate in the body, which can also make wheat and wheat products both addictive and poisonous.
For those diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure), weight, amount of salt in one’s diet, exercise, and other physiological and genetic factors have usually been the foci for treatment strategies. Yet there is increasing evidence that the level of control one has in their work flow may be a key factor in hypertension. A study in the journal Occupational Health and Safety is intriguing in this regard, and may be found by clicking here…
It is undoubtedly confusing trying to keep up with all of the different dietary recommendations and constant changes to those recommendations that we are consistently being bombarded with. One day coffee is good; the next, it is toxic. Same with wine, sugar, chocolate. One reason for so much conflicting information may be that each piece of information we gather comes from a source with its own interests in mind: the USDA, the dairy or meat industry, etc.
When it comes to milk, it doesn’t take much insight to see that much of what we’ve been taught is great about dairy comes from the dairy industry, and while dairy is not bad on its face, we don’t need much of it. In fact, giving up diary altogether may greatly help to heal or prevent heartburn and gastrointestinal reflux (GIRD), and drinking milk does not help people with osteoporosis. To read more on why, check out this article from the New York Times on the subject…
Dr. Mike Evans, associate professor of family medicine and public health at the University of Toronto, has one possible response. Check out this fun video (under 10 minutes in length) where Evans speaks of one intervention that’s been shown to dramatically reduce the risks for anxiety, depression, fatigue, knee arthritis, hip fracture, diabetes, dementia and Alzheimer’s, and death.
Bacteria also come in all kinds of shapes, strings, spheres, oblongs. But they aren’t all bad guys. In fact, without them, we wouldn’t survive very long. We need them to digest food, to produce vitamins. We use them to fight off the bad bacteria. In spite of what you’re reading in the papers this week, they are more helpers than hurters.
New research shows that we may have gut “types,” just as we have blood types, based upon what type of bacteria we have in our gut. This may have a lot of implications for the way we eat, and why some of us have different reactions to the same kinds of foods.
For more on this, read this fun article from NPR correspondent Robert Krulwich on his science blog by clicking here.
Since the mid-1980s we’ve been told to eat a low-fat diet. Turns out that’s part of why we’re so fat, ironic as it may sound. Check out this excellent talk by a well-known Swedish MD on why low-fat diets do not work, and what and how we should be eating instead…
If you’d prefer to read about this rather than watch the video above, check out http://www.dietdoctor.com/lchf.
When a person starts losing weight, where does the fat go? And what parts of the body can you expect to see results? As it turns out, we lose weight proportionally. To learn more about the latest on how weight loss is “distributed,” read this article on CNN by clicking here…
Guest post by Alexis Bonari
Researchers, physicians, and health enthusiasts across the world tout berries for their antioxidant powers. Of all of them, goji berries are receiving increased spotlight as the fruit with the greatest amount of antioxidants on the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) scale, which was developed by Tufts University in Boston to measure antioxidant levels in foods.
Does this make the goji berry our new fountain of youth?
What are antioxidants?
In our day to day activities, we are exposed to harmful molecules called free radicals. We come into contact with them by normal body processes like digestion (when we burn sugar for energy), when the body breaks down certain medicines, through pollutants like cigarette smoke, and even through UV skin damage from spending too much time unprotected in the sun.
Antioxidants—such as vitamins C and E, minerals like selenium, flavonoids, and more—scavenge free radicals in your body and protect it from damage. They actually slow the aging process of our bodies by minimizing damage done to your cells and DNA. WebMD says that our best source of antioxidants is from fruits and vegetables and derivative products, like red wine and tea.
What are goji berries?
Goji berries, also called wolfberries, are bright orange-red berries that hail from Asia. In China especially, these berries have been eaten with hopes of increasing longevity. Nowadays, goji berries are sought after to treat ailments from fever to diabetes and prevent heart disease and cancer.
What are the benefits of goji berries?
Eaten raw, cooked, or dried, goji berries stand to give us the biggest antioxidant punch from within the fruit family. Their antioxidants boost our immune systems and even help our chances against various diseases, small and severe: cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, age-related eye problems, Alzheimer’s, and other age-related circumstances. More traditional uses of goji berries (which haven’t yet been backed by scientific research) include lethargy, aching joints, tinnitus, dizziness, cough, and sexual difficulties.
What are myths about goji berries?
Typically, when an ancient folk remedy surfaces to the 21st century, it is swarmed by commercialist sharks, wolfed down, and digested into an over-priced, cure-all remedy—a fountain of youth. Green tea, pomegranate, and many alternative medicines unfortunately undergo the same process. This is not to say these ancient remedies do not work—they do! The consumer, however, must beware of modern industries that not only hawk these products and services with exaggerated claims, but at outrageous prices and in diluted formulas and experiences.
For example, a juice product may use the goji berry as its claim to fame, but a closer look at its list of ingredients will very often show that the entire product contains very little of its flagship ingredient. According to a report on TVNZ, health officials began an inquiry for certain goji juice makers, who claimed in their advertisements that their goji juice drink could cure cancer.
Be wary of miracle drugs and products and scrutinize all labels. If you want the benefits of goji berries, eat them from the grocery store, not from a bottle or pill.
Bio: Alexis Bonari is currently a resident blogger at College Scholarships, where recently she’s been researching minority scholarship programs as well as beauty school grants. She also writes on health-related topics such as this one whenever she has a chance. In her free time she enjoys doing yoga, cooking with the freshest organic in-season fare, and practicing the art of coupon clipping.